3DS Nintendo

Mario Party: Island Tour UK Review

Mario’s back for another round of board games in the latest Mario Party, but the plumber’s party-host mojo has seemingly one-upped and left. With many mini-games and game modes proving bland and uninspiring, Island Tour gets left in the shadows.

Together on Nintendo’s home consoles and handhelds, the Mario Party series has spawned into double figures, with the latest game holding party-goers in its thirteenth instalment. It seems rather fitting that Mario Party: Island tour languishes in the unlucky number hot seat, as there’s no real spirit and sparkle to its board games – even Bowser’s efforts to become the party-topper in his tower falls a little short – maybe the island life has left them all a little heavy-eyed on this occasion.

Firing up Mario Party in single-player and local multiplayer mode will give you a solid amount of options in both Party and Mini-Game modes. There are seven board games to choose in party mode, and for those who prefer to spend their time besting the AI players at mini-games, Perilous Palace Path and Star-Crossed Skyway provide sumptuous entertainment, while giving you a little room to engage with your devilish and playful side.

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Can you keep your cool and make it to the goal in Perilous Palace Path?

In Star-Crossed Skyway, the main aim is to collect the most mini stars in order to win, but you must either be the first player to reach the end of a skyway board to collect the most stars, or win mini-games against other players to do so. However, depending on which space you land on, mini stars can be deducted by picking up mini ztars, so if you want to catch the runaway winner, sneakily switching the order of stars at the end of the board may just change your fortune. Similarly in Perilous Palace Path, players can pick up the Crazy Kamek item to send the front player into your space – infuriating for the player in first place, but creates endless hilarity for those players at the back of the pack,  especially when partnering up with other 3DS owners.

If Mario was ever in need of an enemy to gatecrash his party, Banzai Bill would be aiming for the top of the list – second only to Bowser. But if Banzai Bill’s Mad Mountain board game is anything to go by, Mario should have stomped him flat as soon as he reached the door. In the game, players are tasked to reach the goal while avoiding any Banzai Bill spaces or rolling his bullet-sneering image on the die. Not only does the game begin to get tiresome after the first ten minutes as a mini-game only pops up every three turns, it’s also maddeningly infuriating to see the goal only 15 short spaces away from your character, knowing that someone will set off Banzai Bill from his cozy casing on the next turn. Playing with friends gives you more control over the game, though after ten minutes, it’s probably best to work together in order to defeat Banzai Bill, rather than claim victory.

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How quickly can you throw him off his golden-spiked perch in Bowser’s Tower?

Playing the game without AI characters or friends gives you the opportunity to explore Bowser’s Tower. Bowser’s livid he wasn’t invited to Mario’s bash, so he’s created his own party pad with 30 floors full to the brim with mini-games. Of course, Bowser throws in a few tricks to liven up the soiree by making your adversaries more challenging or deducting party points from your total.

On each floor you’ll have a choice between two mini-games, with a mid-boss challenge every five levels. Mini-games based on luck such as Spin and Bear It, and Egg Drop, can be irritating when you lose, forcing you to start the floor over, but if you’re adept at skill-based mini-games such as the rhythm-tapping Strike a Chord, or timing your button pushes and jumps in Abseiling Antics and Great Bars of Fire, you’ll breeze through the tower with considerable ease. Though boss fights are the most challenging mini-games, there’s no such need to revisit Bowser’s Tower – save for gaining a handful of party points and unlocking collectibles – as you can replay them all in Free Play mode.

As always, the Mario Party series needs to be enjoyed with friends to get the most thrills out of the game. However, Nintendo’s choice to bar online play in Island Tour has hindered the game’s longevity, critically. Although the mini-games and board games – for the most part – are enjoyable, the lack of a challenging single-player mode with Bowser’s Tower relegates Island Tour to the sidelines, and with no online play Mario doesn’t even need to show us the door.

5.5/10

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45 comments

      1. Agreed…

        To this day, nothing beats Mario Party 2 in the series in my opinion with Mario Party 3 a close second…

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  1. Sheesh, online this, online that. I’m kind of getting tired of games being viewed as horrible just for that reason.

    Island Tour has some flaws, but I enjoyed it a lot. Nice to playing Mario Party again after so long.

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    1. The game isn’t horrible, by any standards. And online isn’t the be all and end all, it just really hinders the amount of time you’ll spend playing it. It was an enjoyable game for 5-10 hours, but that’s about all you’re going to get out of it unless you’re a big series fan. If you enjoyed it, great. :)

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    2. Yes, not having online in a game like is a very big problem nowadays. Especially when its on a handheld. To play this game with multiplayer (you know, the only reason you would play a mario party game), you would need four friends with 3DS and this game in one location. I don’t know about you, but the vast majority of people don’t have those requirements. Mario Party either needs to be a console game (which I still think should have online) or the handheld game needs online. Without it, unless you happen to have friends around you that have both 3DSes and this game, there literally is no point to pick this game up. And I haven’t even talked about all the other problems this game has. I think a 5.5 is a more then generous score for this game

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      1. But seriously, completely agree with both you and the others saying it’s a good game…but mostly you
        On an “at home” console, sure, don’t put online multiplayer, you’ll only need the one console, but 4 3DSs is harder to get…

        I vote go back to MP2+3, with the updated mini games and features + online, if it’s on a handheld

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  2. “…the lack of a challenging single-player mode with Bowser’s Tower relegates Island Tour to the sidelines, and with no online play Mario doesn’t even need to show us the door.”
    Punchline !

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  3. I’m a HUGE Mario Party fan and it’s just my opinion but this game sucked so bad. I just played it for 2 days, I haven’t since the cartridge since then. I was really disappointed on this game, I guess I should’ve not expected a very good game of a MP for a handled hand system.

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  4. Mario Party 1-5 were great, but every Mario Party since I haven’t enjoyed…… I don’t think Nintendo gets it, they need to take the original formula, and just improve upon it with better mini games and possibly online play.

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  5. This is the 12th Mario Party game, not 13
    The newest Mario party on a console is Mario Party 9, and there have been 3 handheld versions, Mario Party Advance, Mario Party DS, and this one, Island Tour, and last time I checked, 9 plus 3 is 12, not 13
    and don’t say the e-reader version counts cause it doesn’t, that was a crappy card game.
    Anyway I haven’t played this new one yet and although it got a bad review and the last portable one was crap, I’m still gonna give it a try cause it looks interesting and I love Mario Party

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    1. Mario Party DS was crap? I thought it was fairly good. Not great, but it was enjoyable; it could have had better minigames and one more board, though.

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  6. And another thing, why does everyone hate Mario Party 9 so much? I think it was a nice change from the classic format and I liked that they finally made it different, honestly, if you liked the old ones, then go play them, stop waiting for Nintendo to make slightly superior versions of old games and just enjoy the old games the way they are, Mario Party 9 was fun and innovative and I still play it with my sisters and we all love it, it’s nice that they made it slightly less competitive than the previous titles

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    1. Cause just getting to the end of the board is crap. We want our 50 Turn games back where you stay up all night having a Mario Party Tournament. Bring back getting Stars not Starbits or Mini Stars or whatever it was called. I didn’t even beat MP9…I bought it but had a friend beat it for me I just couldn’t get into it. And let us go around at our own pace in whatever directions we want.

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  7. This review is what I expected, and I believe it’s probably close to dead on.

    Thanks for tryin’ the game out and saving me $40 MNN. ;)

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  8. having played the game myself as well this review…..couldn’t be more right :/ i’m a HUGE Mario Party fan but this one was kinda meh i wish they had returned to the original formula before Mario Party 9 not saying Mario Party 9 was bad mind you the mini games were fun, but the boards were just to short imho and the vehicles were a fun concept but i missed begin able to move around the board on my own…i hope the next Mario Party (Which will definitely be on the Wii U) will return to the original formula but improve it, also online would be nice but the best experience is always playing Mario Party with friends and family so if it doesn’t have online it won’t be a big deal to me

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      1. u fail at both interpreting sacasm and seeing the real point behind my post. it was directed at those who hate reading comments suggesting online would really do the mario party series good. now hush u motherhusher!

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      2. They hate reading comments about how online would help, yet play the hell outta Smash and Kart. Oh, the…irony or hypocrisy? I’ll go with irony because I keep seeing reviewers online misusing and abusing the term, plus it sounds cooler! …Oh, the irony!

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  9. Bowser needs his Iron Throne. He’s like a dragon, so he can melt all the Master Swords of all the Links into one very comfortable and luxurious chair.

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